As part of new security measures passengers are now asked to switch on their electronic devices before and after flying. Even new devices bought in the departure lounge, after passing through security, will have to be charged or the passenger will be turned away at the gate. Passengers who are travelling on connecting flights will also have to ensure their devices are fully charged before their onward journey. Passengers may be forced to switch on their mobile phones and other electronic devices by airport security officials to prove that they do not contain explosives. These checks are being carried out at the boarding gate on all flights to the US and “on some routes into or out of the UK”.
Those travelling to the US, Mexico and Canada are likely to face extra checks at their airport gate. They may be asked to turn on their laptop or tablet, to check that it is working, or have extra checks carried out on their hand luggage and shoes. Any that do not switch on will not be allowed on flights to the US or UK, and those travellers may have to undergo additional screening. Electronic devices they might be checked can be but not limited to Mobile phone, Laptop, Tablet or iPad devices, MP3 player, Hairdryer or straighteners, Camera and camera equipment , Travel iron and Electric shaver.
This is all because “American intelligence officials have been concerned about new al-Qaida efforts to produce a bomb that would go undetected through airport security.” Officials believe a new generation of al-Qaeda operatives, some of whom are now thought to be in Syria with European passports, are being taught how to make devices to target passenger planes.The list of airports are not disclosed for obvious reasons.
In UK Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports have started to implement the new checks. Airports such as Luton and Stansted, which operate European and regional routes, are believed not to be required to tighten security measures.France also has already increased security in the flights flying to and from US and UK.
Recently in a press release British Airways has said passengers on US flights who fail to turn on devices when asked will be immediately banned from their flight and will have to reschedule (with the help of BA’s customer services team), even if the passenger offers to abandon the item or send it on separately.